United Way of Weld County (UWWC) is proud to announce that Weld and Larimer counties have been designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a fourth Continuum of Care (CoC) region in Colorado.
“This has been a long journey for area agencies and organizations serving the homeless and low-income individuals and families,” said Jeannine Truswell, president and CEO at UWWC. “UWWC is thrilled that HUD is formally recognizing Larimer and Weld counties as a fourth Continuum of Care in the state of Colorado.”
UWWC has provided time and leadership to achieve this designation.
“The CoC will help to provide increased permanent housing resources to those most vulnerable across Larimer and Weld counties,” said Melanie Woolman, director of community impact at UWWC. “All agencies involved in the CoC and their clients will greatly benefit. Our hope is to draw in additional housing resources like Permanent Supportive Housing (those most vulnerable in the community including those with disabling conditions) and Rapid Rehousing (3-6 months of rental assistance with case management).”
Woolman said forming a new CoC is a result of many years of hard work and collaboration.
“Northern Colorado partners have been strengthening our relationship and talking about the CoC for 20 years,” Woolman said. “We’ve been actively pursuing the formation of a new CoC for five years. This is the third time ever that HUD has allowed a region to break away and form a new CoC.”
A Continuum of Care is a local or regional planning body that is responsible for coordinating the funding and delivery of housing and services for people experiencing homelessness in its service area. CoCs maintain the local Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) database, which is used to collect and report data on the characteristics of people experiencing homelessness and their service use patterns. Individual CoCs receive funding through HUD’s Continuum of Care Program, which is designed to promote a community-wide response to ending homelessness.
“Larimer and Weld counties were previously a part of a 56-county Balance of State CoC,” Woolman said. “We would like to thank the 54 rural communities we’ve worked with over the past 20 years and are excited to be graduating onto the formation of our own CoC.”
Woolman added that the CoC also mandates activities like the Point-in-Time Count, a count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January, and Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement System (CAHPS), a community wide process that connects those who are experiencing homelessness with appropriate housing and resources.
“Since 2016, CAHPS has housed 361 veterans, 167 single individuals, 211 families and six young adults,” Woolman said.
UWWC met with several state and national legislators. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) was instrumental in advocating for Weld and Larimer counties to become the fourth CoC in Colorado.
“We are grateful for the support of Senators Gardner and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and their teams whose efforts made this possible,” Truswell said. “This fourth Continuum of Care will allow us to better serve the specific needs of our communities in Larimer and Weld counties.”
There are more than 400 CoCs in the United States, including four CoCs designated by HUD in Colorado:
- Northern Colorado Continuum of Care, which covers Larimer and Weld Counties
- Pikes Peak CoC, which covers all of Colorado Springs and El Paso County
- Metro Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI), which covers the seven-county metropolitan area surrounding Denver (including Boulder County)
- Balance of State (BoS) CoC, which covers the remaining 54 counties outside of the three other CoCs
Woolman said UWWC’s role in the new CoC is to be the collaborative applicant – the agency responsible for facilitating the general planning, implementation and evaluation of HUD homelessness mandates.
“UWWC will also be responsible for the coordination, writing and submission of the annual CoC program grant competition through which HUD homelessness dollars flow into Larimer and Weld counties,” Woolman said.